Penn State Scranton's Human Development and Family Studies Internship Program:

  • Assist you in gaining pre-professional experience
  • Establish an entry-level professional identity in the human services field
  • Enhance your appeal to potential employers
  • Develop your professional skills
  • Help to determine the client population with which you wish to work
  • Gain knowledge of the human service system
  • Establish professional contacts for future employment
  • Build your resume with professional experience

The internship is your opportunity to get work experience and to be a professional in a setting of your choice. The internship is one of the most valuable educational experiences you will have. Associate students are required to complete a 240-hour internship and baccalaureate students are required to complete a 480-hour internship in their final semester.

In difficult economic times, a successful internship in your chosen career field will prove a huge advantage in your job search. Invest significant effort investigating and choosing your internship!

Approximately 60% of the 2012 college graduates who took part in paid internships received at least one job offer, according to the results of a new study by the National Association of Colleges and Employers. (NACE) Although, now the main focus of the internship, many students are offered permanent employment after a successful internship experience.

It is possible to choose internship agencies or organizations from among those previously used by the department or you may identify new sites. Internship sites are chosen through HDFS 401 for the Baccalaureate level internship and through individual work with the Internship Coordinator (Dr. Janet Ann Melnick or 570-963-2674) for the Associate level internship.

Internships can span work across the life-span. While many students choose work with children in a variety of settings, other areas are drug and alcohol, mental health, adult and juvenile probation, and aging services. Most internships can be secured within the county that you live unless you choose to intern in an agency farther from where you live.

More information about: Child and Adolescent Services internships.

More information about: Mental Health and Drug and Alcohol internships.

More information about: Adult and Juvenile Probation Internships.

More information about: Elder Services internships.

More information about: Other Agencies

The Internship Program consists of three courses (15 credits). These courses are:

SEMESTER 1 (Next to last semester)
HDFS 401 (three credits) Project Planning, Implementation and Evaluation

SEMESTER 2 (Final semester)
HDFS 495C (eight credits) Internship: Advanced Practicum, 480 hours
HDFS 402 (four credits) Internship Seminar: One evening a week

HDFS 401: Project Planning, Implementation and Evaluation  (three credits)
HDFS 401 is the first in the series of internship courses and should be taken one semester before your internship. HDFS 401 is offered fall and spring semesters. Usually you will begin the internship process in the first half of your senior year by applying to enter HDFS 401.

The primary goal of this course is to prepare you for a successful undergraduate internship in your professional area of interest. In this course you will:

  1. Develop your résumé
  2. Job search techniques
  3. Research possible internship sites
  4. Interview at, at least 2 agencies
  5. Plan a project that you could potentially carry out in HDFS 495C, with the emphasis on evaluation.
  6. You must complete HDFS 401 with a minimum grade of "C" and have instructor's approval of the internship site before entering HDFS 402 and 495C.

You must successfully complete the introductory course, HDFS 401, before you enroll in your internship. No exceptions are made in this sequence. It is required that you schedule HDFS 401 ONE semester before your internship.

Even though HDFS 401 helps you with the details of making arrangements for your internship, it is important to be thinking about the internship prior to HDFS 401. If possible, try to volunteer at an agency before your internship or try to get a summer job in a related field.

Then you will be ready to ask yourself the following questions:

  • What kinds of people or families do I want to help?
  • What kinds of problems am I interested in resolving?
  • What type of agency or organization do I want to work for during my internship?
  • What kind of professional experience do I want?
  • How will this internship experience fit into my short-term plans after I earn my degree?
  • Do I want to do my internship in a particular geographical area?
  • What am I looking for in an internship supervisor?

HDFS 495C: Internship (eight credits)
Interns work 32- 35 hours weekly for 15 weeks to complete the required total of 480 hours, one semester internship experience. Its focus is experiential learning accompanied by intensive supervision, provided by an on-site supervisor, as well as Penn State Faculty-based instruction and mentoring. HDFS 495C is taken concurrently with HDFS 402.

The internship can be completed during either the fall or spring semesters. It is one full semester spent working as a professional in a setting of your choice. Generally you will work as a full-time professional (a minimum of 32 hours a week) for the semester. You will enroll as a full-time student and pay tuition for the registered 12 credits of required HDFS 495C and HDFS 402 coursework.

HDFS 402: Internship Seminar (three credits)
402 meets on campus one morning a week from 8 am to noon. Assignments will be based on information and experience gathered at your internship. Interns find that the active reflection and processing of the internship experiences and the supportive community of fellow interns make this class both enjoyable and invaluable.

Written permission to register for HDFS 495C and HDFS 402 is provided after all internship paperwork is complete, submitted and the internship and site has been formally approved by the HDFS Field Coordinator.

In addition, students need to be Penn State Scranton HDFS majors (this will show on the degree audit as "HFSCC LSHS")  in order to register for HDFS 495C and 402 and course registration must be COMPLETE before they begin any form of internship hours.

The contact person for all HDFS internship questions is Dr. Janet Ann Melnick,, 570-962-2674.